Letter: The capital's healthcare needs

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The Independent Online
Sir: Philip Hunt's letter (8 April) supporting Mrs Bottomley's proposals for London's hospitals displays the persuasive rhetoric prevalent in today's NHS-speak, concealing the serious crisis experienced by London's doctors and patients alike. London currently faces record waiting lists (165,000), matched by ever-increasing difficulty in emergency admissions due to bed shortages. Inner London's GPs and community services are at present under- resourced to serve current needs, let alone the increased workload after hospital closures.

Additionally, the Tomlinson Report's statistics underpinning the Government proposals for London have been widely discredited. Professor Brian Jarman has refuted the questionable data suggesting that London is overbedded, demonstrating that London has no more beds than the national average, but actually fewer than other urban cities, despite the unique and increased needs of the capital. The stipulation that London is disproportionately resourced at the expense of the rest of the country is equally invalid, with current figures showing that London is actually funded less per capita than the national average.

Even the Kings Fund, the independent healthcare think-tank which originally inspired the Government's proposals for London's health services, has called for a moratorium on any hospital and bed closures in London for at least five years. Of course change is both inescapable and necessary. But it needs to take place over a timescale worthy of the complexity of the capital after an informed debate with a consensus view.

Yours faithfully,


Honeypot Medical Centre



10 April